Saints Who Revolutionised Rhythm And Melody
Music has the power to touch, heal, inspire and transform us with its varying melodies and rhythms. This art form has always played an important role in culture as well as religion. It is used to convey joy, sorrow, love, faith, devotion and a wide variety of emotions which human beings may not be able to express fully without music. This is the prime reason for the immense popularity of religious musicians such as Gregory the Great, Rumi and others, who used music as a medium to spread their faith and captivate followers and fans. These saints have helped us express our religious sentiment and faith better and contributed greatly to the magical world of music.
Saint Cecilia: Saint Cecilia, a Roman saint who spent her life preaching the path of Christianity to the masses, is regarded as the patroness of music. It is said that on her wedding, she sung in her heart to God who kept her alive even after the tried to suffocate her in the baths and behead her with three blows to her neck. Her steadfast devotion and musical abilities have made her a figure to look up to in the world of music and she is prayed to by musicians and other artistes for guidance and inspiration. She is often depicted with a harp, organ, organ-pipes or other musical instruments in her hand.
Milarepa: Milarepa, a Tibetan Buddhist saint famous for composing the Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa, is a great inspiration in the sphere of Buddhist music. He was an avid singer since childhood for whom music served as an outlet of his misery. Later on his music took on a more spiritual form as it began to describe his transformation into an enlightened being. His music had a very personal touch to it, as it described his life events and his gradual progress towards the stage of enlightenment. Milarepa’s music had a raw nature which made his followers develop an instant liking towards it, as it helped them connect with their inner self and understand their fallacies and weaknesses better. The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa are sung event today by Buddhists for guidance and solace in their day-to-day life.
Saint Tukaram: An Indian saint who is well-known for his fine music and linguistic abilities, Sant Tukaram or Saint Tukaram is one of the personalities who defined Indian devotional songs. He composed abhangas, a Maharashtrian traditional style of music which originated from folk tradition, but combined classical music and religion for a stellar effect. These were sung in praise of an avatar of Vishnu known as Vitthala or Vithoba, but Tukaram also used his music to express his disdain and disgust at the acts of social injustice of those times. He composed kirtans too, which are spiritual songs to be sung in a group for harmony and the invocation of God.
Amir Khusro Dehlavi: Sufism is an eclectic blend of the finest and most liberal philosophies contained within Hinduism and Islam and Sufi music has always enjoyed acceptance by the Islamic as well as Hindu community. Amir Khusro Dehlavi, a Sufi saint and mystic, was a genius who is credited with several musical inventions such as creation of the tabla, sitar, qawwali, tarana, khayal and ragas such as Zeelaf and Yaman. His music has penetrated deep beneath the surface of Indian classical music and has helped it reach greater heights in the spiritual realm.